By Scott North Herald Writer
MARYSVILLE — The 2012 death of an 83-year-old Marysville woman allegedly was the result of severe neglect, and the son who provided her in-home care now is facing a manslaughter charge.
Steven Wayne Murrill, 61, did not keep his mother clean or well nourished, and he was so neglectful that she developed bed sores that in places reached her bones, deputy prosecutor Matt Hunter said in Snohomish County Superior Court papers.
Marysville police began investigating in July 2012 when aide crews were called to the home and found Doris Murrill emaciated and incoherent. Her son said she’d not left her bed in 45 days and her arms were so atrophied she could not move them away from her face, according to court papers.
She had infected feet, visible open wounds and had lost more than 50 pounds from when she had last been at a care facility about six months earlier.
An examination showed her left leg and pelvis were fractured.
Medics told police that when they lifted the woman from her bed “she began bleeding from areas of her body that had been in contact with her mattress,” Hunter wrote. “The officer went inside and observed Doris’ bed — it was covered with blood, urine and an extensive amount of feces. The house reeked.”
Doris Murrill was hospitalized and then transferred to a rehabilitation center. She died in October as a result of complications, including sepsis, the body’s reaction to severe infection.
The Snohomish County Medical Examiner ultimately ruled her death a homicide. The decision came after consulting an expert who said the woman’s severe bed sores were evidence of “failure to provide the most basic nursing services.”
Steven Murrill initially cooperated with the investigation. He told police that he’d found his mother on the floor in mid-May 2012 and that she never left her bed again. He said he called medics in July after seeing a deep bed sore on one of her feet. He denied knowing about other injuries.
He allegedly told police he “did not call for help previously because ambulances cost ‘eight hundred dollars a pop,’” Hunter wrote.
Steven and Doris Murrill were the only people who lived at the home and reportedly never had visitors. He is scheduled later this month for arraignment on the second-degree manslaughter charge.
Scott North: 425-339-3431; firstname.lastname@example.org.